By Stanley Campbell
Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been protecting the environment of wild places, communities and the planet itself. They are the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
And their founder, John Muir, appears on the back of the California quarter. That’s because Muir protected Yosemite from the developers. By the way, developers probably do not like John Muir nor the Sierra Club, but the feeling is mutual. Except developers who use techniques to prevent environmental degradation. Sierra Club loves them!
The club was founded May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, by the conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters throughout the U.S.
In the Rockford area, Blackhawk Sierra Club is active, and they are gonna have a party, and you are invited!
The biggest environmental party this side of the Rock River is Thursday, Sept. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. at JustGoods fair trade store, 201 Seventh St. (park on the west side in the parking lot).
Enjoy food and fun, and talk environment and meet with state Sierra Club leaders Jack Darin and Sarah Gulezian. Door prizes of environmental books and Sierra Club paraphernalia will be given out willy-nilly. Fair trade chocolates, coffees and teas will be provided by JustGoods (we will try to have the fair trade store open as well).
The party is free and open to the public, even developers! And other local environmental groups are welcome to make announcements and say something about their latest activities.
The organizers hope you will join Sierra Club and help save the environment. To be more specific, they (we) hope you will be more active in the local chapter and help keep track of memberships, post items on the Internet, and survey the political candidates to determine who might help the environment.
I am the conservation chairman of the Blackhawk Sierra Club, and I help set up programs and run some of the meetings. We have five members of the executive committee (the ExCom) and could use a little more help. Sierra Club is noted for its many “outings” or trips into wild places. We need a local “outings” chairman.
When you visit the Sierraclub.org website, you are invited to walk the Andes, or clean up a rain forest, or visit the polar ice caps. Locally, we need someone to set up tours so we can walk the forest preserves, clean up Kent Creek and visit the few remaining prairies surrounding our towns. This person is called the “outings chairman” and helps the local Sierra Club get out and about.
Blackhawk Sierra Club needs a volunteer to help scrutinize local politicians and make recommendations. We also could use someone who can update our one page on the national website.
One nice thing about environmental groups: the people you meet are exceptional. Please feel welcome to visit Blackhawk Sierra Club, meet the Illinois leaders (they’ll be driving in from Chicago), and join in the fun.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2011, issue